In an age where identity theft has become a huge concern for online consumers, assuring your customers that their sensitive personal and financial information is safe with you is critical to a successful ecommerce Web site.
A secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate not only encrypts customer information before it's sent over the Internet, it adds to your checkout page two signals that customers have come to identify with secure online transactions:
- "https" in the browser, and
- A lock icon in the bottom right side of the window.
Most Web hosting plans include a shared SSL certificate with the plan. A shared certificate covers all Web sites on the server, offering the same protection to everyone. The good thing is that it doesn't carry an additional cost. On the other hand, it could confuse customers because they will be sent to a secure server with a different URL to complete their transaction, and your Web site URL will no longer appear in the address bar.
For an additional charge, you can purchase a dedicated SSL certificate that applies to your Web site alone. It offers all of the same encryption benefits, but because the certificate is dedicated solely to your Web site, your URL will remain in the browser through the entire checkout process.
Whether you go with a shared or dedicated SSL, the important thing is that you choose an ecommerce Web hosting plan that allows you to protect your customers' information.